The Racquet

Ask 5: Connecting Music and Memories

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Rachel Mergen, Staff Reporter

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According to the Florida National University, “Several studies in recent years have linked music, memory, and emotion. To back this claim, Petr Janata has conducted two studies to prove that music, memory, and emotion are linked. His initial study found that ‘music serves as a potent trigger for retrieving memories.’

During his second study, Janata took a Functional Magnetic Resonance Image of students’ brains as he played popular songs from their childhood and teenage years. After each excerpt, the student responded to questions about the tune, including whether it was familiar or not, how enjoyable it was, and whether it was associated with any particular incident, episode or memory (UC Davis).”

To show the powerful connection between music, memories, and emotions, five University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students, varying in years at the school, told stories about songs that connect to moments of the past that they still hold dearly in their hearts.

Junior Louis Wulterkens explained a song that brings up important memories to him, “I would say the song that I connect to is ‘Monster’ by Skillet. I connect to that song because a lot of times in high school I did a lot of powerlifting and during one of the last meets, it was the last song I played before I went up for the deadlift that would have qualified me for the national competition.

When I went to pull the deadlift, something popped in my knee and I was then done lifting for three or four months after that. It’s still a song that I listen to a lot if I have to get hyped up for something or if I’m doing any lifting. It’s really rooted in that moment; not only in the importance of that moment, but how much I had to come back from that as well.”

“I would say ‘Shark Fighter’ by The Aquabats,” Sergio Guerrero, who is powering through his fifth year, uniquely answered. “It’s basically a song for little kids, but it is a love song. It is a bunch of grown ups singing silly sounds. Every time I think of it, I always think about high school and how silly I was- like I never took things seriously. These guys are making a life getting money just by playing stupid songs, and I’m like, that’s me. I don’t know how I made it here, but I’m just being me.”

Senior Emily Stelpflug told of her musical connection, “The artist that I connect to is Maren Morris, because I went to a concert with my mom and sister, so that brings back a memory of hanging out with them.”

“The song ‘I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing’ by Aerosmith reminds me of my aunt who passed away when I was three. That’s the song that her and my uncle danced to at their wedding,” answered freshman Allison Kornelly.

Lastly, sophomore Bradley Jacobson told, “There’s a song by Red Hot Chili Peppers that every time I hear it, I think of my hockey season when I was in high school.”

Even though songs may be written to commemorate the writer’s experiences, it seems that the lyrics and beats are also able to link with students and the moments that formed who they are today.

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Ask 5: Connecting Music and Memories